The High Court yesterday expressed dissatisfaction at the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) for not complying with its order to examine the quality of water supplied by the Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) through a committee.
During the hearing of a writ petition filed by Advocate Tanvir Ahmed, the HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam said only 22 bottles of water from 11 zones in Dhaka are needed for testing.
Speaking to The Daily Star, Tanvir said he submitted the report to the HC following several print and social media reports.
On May 8, the LGRD minister submitted a report to the HC mentioning that it had formed a four-member committee to examine the quality of the Wasa water.
Deputy Attorney General Motaher Hossain Sazu told The Daily Star that the bench expressed dissatisfaction at the LGRD ministry as it sought four months’ time to examine the Wasa water.
The ministry last week sought one more week from the court to come up with the cost of examining the Wasa water, and by doing so, the ministry is showing irresponsibility, the bench said.
“How much money does the committee formed by the LGRD ministry need to test 22 bottles of water?” the bench questioned.
It came up with the observation while hearing the writ petition challenging the government’s failure to supply safe water to the people.
The HC bench also scheduled May 16 to pass further orders on this issue, he added.
Earlier in the day, Advocate Tanvir submitted a report to the HC saying that water supplied by Wasa is highly contaminated and unsafe in 16 areas of Dhaka.
The areas are -- Jurain, Daniya, Shaympur, Uttara Sector-4, Lalbagh, Rajar Deuri, Malibagh, Madartek, Banashree, Goran, Raysaheb Bazar, Mohammadpur Basila, Mirpur, Pallabi, Kazipara and Sadarghat, he said.
Dhaka Wasa stated in the report that it would examine the water at the laboratories of DU, BUET and icddr,b after acquiring necessary funds.
Following the writ petition filed by Tanvir, the HC on November 7 last year ordered the LGRD ministry to form the four-member committee to test its water quality.
Members of the committee are from the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, Dhaka University and International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh to examine the quality of the water supplied by Wasa.
With the writ petition, Tanvir Ahmed included a recently published report on The Daily Star on October 12.
The report, based on a World Bank study, said 98 percent of Bangladesh’s people had access to water from technologically-improved sources, but E. Coli contamination was found in 80 percent of household tap water across the country.